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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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State IG’s Office probing reports of cheating at Algiers high school

A New Orleans charter high school whose impressive test scores plummeted under the watchful eye of monitors is under investigation by the state Inspector General’s Office, officials said this week. The school, L.B. Landry-O. Perry Walker High School in Algiers, is managed by the Algiers Charter School Association, one of the largest charter operators in the… Continue reading →

Proposed Jefferson Parish School Board travel restriction defeated by well-traveled members

Early last year, a newly elected slate of Jefferson Parish School Board members voted to ditch the previous board’s restrictions on how much members could travel at the public’s expense. The result: Board members in 2015 spent more than $66,000 on out-of-town conferences and other trips, which was more than triple the annual average over the… Continue reading →

Land in north Kenner should be future campus of Haynes Academy, Jefferson Parish School Board decides

A narrowly divided Jefferson Parish School Board voted late Tuesday to dedicate 12 of 20 acres of land it owns in north Kenner as the future home of Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, whose 790 students in sixth through 12th grades attend a campus that many feel is outdated and needs more room to expand. The… Continue reading →

Officials endorse call for additional school in Lower 9th Ward

A group of Lower 9th Ward residents received some welcome support Saturday in their push for another high-quality public school in their neighborhood, which was served by several schools before the nearby levee breached and submerged the area in 2005. Since Hurricane Katrina, the badly devastated neighborhood has had only one operating school, Dr. Martin Luther… Continue reading →

Special report: Why are athletics largely immune to higher education budget cuts?

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- In a cloud of mist, workers power wash the seats in the football stadium on the first day of school at SLU in Hammond, La..

Nicholls State University’s sports teams cost the school more money each year than the university spends on many individual academic departments, including petroleum engineering and the college’s celebrated Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. As at most campuses, the lion’s share of the spending is on football, a sport the Colonels have played in Thibodaux since the… Continue reading →

Officials say New Orleans charter school tried to cheat on exams, funding formula

Gerald Herbert/AP -- Students wait in line at ReNEW SciTech Academy, a charter school in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014.

State officials said Friday that former administrators at a charter school in the Irish Channel attempted to cheat on exams and fill a budget gap by manipulating the number of disabled students enrolled at the school. It was the second time in a year officials publicly identified serious violations at one of the city’s independent charters.… Continue reading →

Special report: Amid cuts, shift in higher ed landscape, community colleges emerge in Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Jesse Hill works on a welding projects at BRCC's Port Allen campus.

Terry Hammatt’s educational journey has been an unusual one. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Then he earned two master’s degrees — one from his alma mater and the other from the U.S. Army War College. And last year, Hammatt capped it off by earning an associate degree… Continue reading →

New Orleans deputy mayor, UNO provost under consideration for UNO’s top job

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin talks about Mayor Landrieu's 2014 proposed budget for the city in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013.

New Orleans Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin is among five candidates under consideration to lead the struggling University of New Orleans. The group also includes several university provosts, including UNO’s. Kopplin has served as the city’s first deputy mayor and chief administrative officer since Mayor Mitch Landrieu took office in 2010. Before that, he spent… Continue reading →

West Bank Catholic college getting new name and owners

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Our Lady of Holy Cross College, which is being renamed the University of Holy Cross, in Algiers on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.

Our Lady of Holy Cross College, the West Bank’s only four-year college, has changed its name and ownership, officials announced Thursday. The Roman Catholic institution, which has been known by its current name for more than 50 years, will now be called the University of Holy Cross. The Congregation of Marianites of Holy Cross,… Continue reading →

Special report: Universities founded to offer minorities an escape from poverty struggling to fulfill their mission in Louisiana

Photo provided by SU Media Relations/Naville Oubre -- Southern University students on the Baton Rouge campus.

Sabrina Charatain began the fall semester at Southern University in Baton Rouge last year without textbooks, waiting for money from her student loan to come through. She plays a similar waiting game with the military benefits she earns for serving in the reserves. The money doesn’t show up until the end of the month. In… Continue reading →

Special report: ‘Flagship Agenda’ on hold at LSU as top researchers have left for greener pastures

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Dr. William Wischusen teaches Biology 1201 Wednesday, August 26, 2015 to a class of 900 students inside the LSU Cox Communications Academic Center auditorium .LSU's ratio of students to faculty has been rising steadily amid budget woes.

Since the late 1800s, LSU’s status within Louisiana has been secure. It’s the unchallenged big dog, easily the largest and best-performing public university in the Pelican State. But the Tiger brand has less cachet elsewhere. Across America, LSU is best known for its perennially formidable football team and its dependable ranking as one of… Continue reading →

UL-Lafayette making do with less — so far

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Incoming University of Louisiana at Lafayette international freshmen Brock Dong, left, and Xiangbo Liu, from China, talk to UL-Lafayette President E. Joseph Savoie in August.

When University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Joseph Savoie stepped into his new job in 2008, state funding for higher education in Louisiana had reached a historical peak. It’s been in free fall ever since. Years of cuts have left UL-Lafayette with roughly half the state support it had just seven years ago,… Continue reading →

Budget cuts, leadership void, tougher admission standards only added to UNO’s struggles after Hurricane Katrina

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- UNO student government president Joy Ballard's program was cut last year.

Joy Ballard had a tough decision to make when the University of New Orleans eliminated several degree programs in late 2014 — including hers. Dwindling state funding, dramatic enrollment drops and a yearslong, multimillion-dollar structural deficit led then-UNO President Peter Fos to put seven programs on the immediate chopping block and target others for restructuring.… Continue reading →

Special report: How startling, unique cuts have transformed Louisiana's universities

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU students Rebecca Chalin, left, of Gretna, Amanda Winters, center, of Mandeville, and Michael Dyson, right, of Covington chant as they march toward the State Capitol with a crowd of concerned university students in December 2015 to rally against the higher education budget cuts, after assembling at nearby A.Z. Young Park.

When Gov. Bobby Jindal took office eight years ago, state taxpayers provided 60 percent of the funding for Louisiana’s public universities. Now, taxpayers put up barely a quarter of the tab, leaving students and their families to cover most of the gap in the form of rising tuition and fees.… Continue reading →

Are there too many universities in Louisiana?

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Statewide enrollment figures for institutions like the University of New Orleans were released Wednesday, October 17, 2012. Here students walk the quad at UNO.

Barely 350,000 people live in northeast Louisiana. But drive the lonesome 30-mile stretch of highway from Monroe to Grambling and you will pass three public universities, all offering degrees in everything from kinesiology to music to world languages. It’s quite a smorgasbord for an area that has just 8 percent of the state’s population. It’s… Continue reading →

Loyola University faculty group votes no confidence in school’s president

Advocate file photo by Richard Alan Hannon -- Rev. Kevin Wildes speaks at a Senate Commerce committee meeting at the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge in this May 2010 Advocate file photo.

Loyola University’s faculty issued a vote of “no confidence” Thursday evening in the leadership of the Rev. Kevin Wildes, the Uptown Catholic university’s president since 2004. It was Wildes’ second faculty censure in a decade, but, like the first, it is only an expression of faculty opinion and has no legal authority. The vote… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish School Board re-elects leaders in bid for stability

Seth Bloom, right, and Cynthia Cade, left, were again selected to serve as Orleans Parish School Board president and vice-president on Tuesday, January 20, 2016. Photo provided by the Orleans Parish School Board.

The Orleans Parish School Board unanimously re-elected its president and vice president Tuesday. There was little lobbying for the two positions behind the scenes, save that of returning President Seth Bloom, board members said. That’s a change from past elections, which occasionally grew contentious and exacerbated animosities on the seven-member board. The board’s president… Continue reading →

Ex-St. Augustine band member, mother sue school over 7th-grader's alleged sexual assault on Florida trip

The mother of a former seventh-grade member of the St. Augustine High School marching band has sued the school and its principal on the boy’s behalf, claiming negligence in failing to prevent a student-on-student sexual assault last year during a trip to Florida for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade performance. The lawsuit,… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish School Board will ask for higher property tax to finance new school buildings

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Students leave Washington Elementary School in Kenner, La. Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. The Jefferson Parish School Board will ask voters on April 9 to approve a bond issue and property tax increase that would finance $200 million in new and renovated school buildings. Washington is on a proposed list but the list needs to voted on by the board and finalized before the April 9 bond issue.

The Jefferson Parish School Board decided Tuesday night to ask voters April 9 to approve a bond issue and property tax increase that would finance $200 million in new and renovated school buildings. If voters agree, they can expect to be charged up to 3 mills in additional property tax for a maximum of about 20 years.… Continue reading →

Public invited to review St. Tammany social studies textbooks

Beginning this month, the public will be able to review samples of social studies textbooks that the St. Tammany Parish School Board is considering buying for the next school year. Students in grades third through 12th will have new textbooks for the fall semester, and the school system will have to order the books by April… Continue reading →

Two Tulane legislative scholarships up for grabs through Jefferson program this year

Advocate Photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLON -- State Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, and Sharon Courtney, vice president of government affairs at Tulane University, discuss legislation Wednesday, May 21, 2014 about granting legislative scholarships. Two Jefferson Parish lawmakers are awarding their 2016-17 scholarships through the Jefferson Dollars for Scholars program.

A Jefferson Parish program that usually awards college scholarships to public high school graduates also will award two Tulane University scholarships on behalf of two state legislators this year. The Tulane scholarships may go to either public or private high school graduates or to current Tulane students. Jefferson Dollars for Scholars, which has… Continue reading →

Rex foundation donates $1 million to schools, educational groups

The Rex Organization’s charitable foundation awarded $1 million in grants to 60 local educational groups on Saturday. The Pro Bono Publico Foundation, formed by Rex after Hurricane Katrina, has contributed a total of $4.4 million to schools and educational organizations. Most of the money comes from the Rex Organization’s more than 800 members. Through the… Continue reading →